LaFayette City Council, on Monday (Jan. 10) during its regular monthly meeting, declined to amend an ordinance to prohibit animals from all city parks, sports and recreation areas. The proposal exempted service animals for the physically disabled, police animals and animals that are part of performances and other city-authorized events.
“I just don’t want us to appear to be unfriendly to people exercising their pets,” said Mayor Neal Florence.
The council decided to allow Recreation Director Patti Scott to handle the problem and to revisit the issue later if needed.
The stink arose because pet owners generally do not pick up their animal’s feces. Scott said playground and ballfield areas need to be protected because children play there.
Council members, during the December meeting, said they wanted public input before voting on the issue. Council member Wayne Swanson said a few people voiced their opposition to the proposal after that meeting.
Swanson suggested erecting signs stating pet owners are responsible for picking up their pets’ leavings. If pet owners do not comply, he suggested telling them they could not bring their pets back to the park.
City leaders noted enforcing such a policy would be difficult.
“I don’t feel it would be right to ban animals from the park,” council member Judy Meeks said.
Scott said another solution could be designating an area as a dog park.
Council members noted many residents like to bring their pets with them to special events, such as the Freedom Festival.
The current ordinance allows pets at the facilities; however, dogs must be on a leash, officials said.
CLICK HERE: Express your opinion. Send a letter to the editor.
CLICK HERE: Get all the local news and sports with a subscription to the Walker County Messenger
In other business Monday, Jan. 10:
* Council members agreed to use a consultant selection process for individual airport construction projects.
City Manager Johnnie Arnold said airport upgrades have hit a snag several times as paperwork is sent back and forth with Mayes, Sudderth & Etheredge Inc. to correct errors in contracts, bonds and plans. Going to the request for proposal policy will allow Mayes to bid on the next project, and the city can compare proposals to hire the best engineering firm for that project.
* The city declined to increase water production from 3.5 million gallons per day to 5 million, as requested by the state Department of Natural Resources Environmental Protection Division. City officials ask the state agency to permit the city for 3.5 million gallons daily in the five-year permit.
Water production averages 2 million gallons daily, the city manager said. The city the capacity to increase water production to the requested level, but doing so could place unnecessary restraints on the city.
Florence said he urged not increasing the production until either EPD requires the increase or demand for water increases.
* The council approved two contracts with the state DOT to move gas lines south of the city along U.S. 27. The city’s agrees to pay 20 percent of the project’s cost, or about $100,000. The project is one step in the four-laning of U.S. 27.
The DOT will select a contractor to begin clearing the land, and construction will not begin until after February, the city manager said. All design work has been completed, and the DOT has approved the plans, Arnold said.
* The council declined to issue a letter confirming Crown Castle International has a lease with the city. The company asked for the letter to verify its lease while the company refinances debts.
City attorney Ron Womack said he advised against issuing the letter because the city could have to deal with the lender, in addition to Crown Castle